JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Chick-fil-A saw record-breaking sales across the country Wednesday fueled by fans of president Dan Cathy and his unapologetic opposition of same-sex marriage. The show of support was largely driven by politics.
“Is it sad that we don't see those crowds at the voting polls?” asked Action News. “Absolutely and I’m really hoping that this year we will see a change in it,” said customer Miriam Bone.
Bone wonders why so many turned out to support a political movement at a fast food restaurant when voter turnout is typically low.
“People get passionate about their issues. They also get passionate about American Idol. We have more people voting for that sometimes than our elections,” said Supervisor of Elections, Jerry Holland.
Holland makes a good point. I asked if chicken sandwiches should be handed out on Election Day. He wasn't feeling the idea but said the key is to promote that passion and direct it to the polls. “We’d like to see that carry over into elections because quite honestly, no matter what side you are on that particular issue, there are candidates who are on both sides of that issue."
The fast food chain is the first to admit that Wednesday’s long and winding lines were not planned. It was the brain child of former presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee. He called on Christians across the country to dine in and show support for the company. That message took off and spread on social media sites like wildfire.
"It was because of the power of that platform. It was because of the immediacy of what happened so you can go on and say I’m for it, I’m against it,” said Leah Goodwyne.
Goodwyne is a social media strategist for FSCJ. In a world of tweets, check-ins and wall posts, she says Chick-fil-A day became a mass movement we wouldn't have seen five years ago.
Corporate reps for the company wouldn't say how much they cashed in on the controversy but stated, "We are very grateful and humbled by the incredible turnout of loyal Chick-fil-A customers on August 1 at Chick-fil-A restaurants around the country. Chick-fil-A appreciation day was not a company promotion; it was initiated by others."
An initiation, Goodwyne says, will occur more and more thanks to powerful social platforms. “Rather than building a grassroots campaign where you're passing out fliers or picketing, now, you make a statement on Facebook or you create an event, you can get people to join your cause really quickly."